A couple of years ago everyone was asking for alerts, push notifications and Notification Center. Now, they’re here, and every time somebody mentions us online, every connected device beeps, vibrates and lights up. When somebody e-mails me at the office, both my Mac, iPhone and iPad light up. When my mom calls me via FaceTime, all my devices start ringing and once I choose a device to take the call, the others keep making noise for a while and end up showing me missed calls.
It’s great that we are so connected and even more awesome that I can start a conversation on one device, and finish it on another one. But what bothers me is that while I’m talking to someone on Facebook on the iPad, my iPhone keeps on alerting when the other person replies. Or that when I read my Twitter DMs, they are still unread on my iPhone. In an ideal world, an active device should be the only device that shows me notifications. When I’m working on the Mac, I want to see notifications on my Mac, and the iPhone should stay dark. Or when I’m reading on my iPad, only that device should start ringing when somebody facetimes me, with the other devices alerting me after a while when I don’t initially respond on the iPad. And when I dismiss missed calls or messages on one device, the notification queue should clear up everywhere. Following this reasoning, when I pick up the iPhone and walk away from my desk, my Mac and iPad should know I’m away, and keep silent.
Delight is in the details, and so is frustration. Status syncing and conditional alerts are finishing touches when it comes to Notification Center.